(Australia circa 1901 – 1972)
73.0 x 44.0 cm
January Nangunyari-Namiridali was among the group of artists – including Yirawala, Paddy Compass Namatbara and Jimmy Midjawmidjaw – who were working at Mindjilang (Croker Island) in the 1960s. This group of artists were some of the first artists from western Arnhem Land to be recognised and collected. His works from this time, including this painting, were collected by Karel Kupka, the most astute European collector of that era.
The subject appears to be mimihs or possibly wangarra spirit beings, two men and three women, singing, and is a rare example of the old style of western Arnhem Land bark painting before rarrk (crosshatching) was introduced. This style of painting appears to represent variations of ceremonial body paint and is derived from paintings on rock shelters, caves and galleries found in the Arnhem Land escarpment.
© Australian Art Department, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2005
Hetti Perkins, Crossing country: the alchemy of western Arnhem Land art, Sydney, 2004, 39 (colour illus.), 118, 228.